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27 Dec 2011 - 15 Apr 2021
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Poll- Do Egyptians really want to overthrow the military government?
In light of the massive uprising we are seeing now in Tahrir Square, I think it may be useful to examine recent polling in Egypt that gauges popular sentiment in the country. the A few weeks ago a poll was released by the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. While certain results were released in English, I did not find these important results until I checked the Arabic release.
In Arabic-
وانخفضت نسبة التقيم لاداء المجلس الاعلي القوات المسلحة الي40.6% خلال اكتوبر مقارنة بــ44.6% خلال اغسطس وبلغت نسبة الثقة في قيام المجلس العسكري بمهام المرحلة الانتقالية بخصوص توفير الظروف المناسبة للانتقال الديمقراطي الي89.4% مقابل92.8% ونقل السلطة لحكومة مدنية الي88.3% مقابل99.2% واجراء انتخابات حرة91.7% في اكتوبر مقابل95.7% ومحاكمة رموز النظام السابق الي78.9% في اكتوبر مقابل86.1% في اغسطس.
وعن الطبيعة المفضلة للدولة قال44.3% دولة ديمقراطية مدينة مقابل49.9% ودولة اسلامية45.6% مقابل42.9% ودولة قوية ولو كانت غير ديمقراطية10.1% مقابل7.2%.
My translation:
The approval rating of the SCAF decreased to 40.6% in October from 44.6% in August, and the percent of Egyptians confident in the military council to provide the necessary conditions for the transition to democracy decreased to 89.4% from 92.8%. The percent confident in the SCAF to pass authority to a civilian government decreased to 88.3% from 99.2% and confidence in their ability to enact free elections declined from 95.7% to 91.7%. The percent confident in the SCAF’s ability to try members of the old regime in court declined from 86.1% in August to 78.9% in October.
As for the preferred nature of the state, 44.3% in October said they would prefer a civil state (down from 49.9%), while 45.6% said they would prefer an Islamic state (up from 42.9%), and the number of people who preferred a strong government (regardless of its democratic nature) increased to 10.1% from 7.2%.
A few conclusions might be drawn from this poll, if the results are indeed valid:
  • Despite the popular misgivings now apparent in Tahrir Square, the Egyptian military still has a great degree of legitimacy and trust by the people in terms of passing authority to a civilian government.
  • Approval of an Islamic state is increasing, though it is still evenly tied with a civil state. Whether or not these results are useful or not is a manner of debate, given the wide variations of Islam as applied to governance.
Throughout Egyptian history the military has been perceived as the most ‘legitimate’ and honest institution in Egypt, relative to the corruption of the civil sector. It is somewhat unlikely that these sentiments would have changed drastically after a manner of months.
Given these poll results, it is possible to hypothesize that these these protests are driven as a means of pressuring the SCAF into following through on its promises, rather than an attempt to overthrow the SCAF in its entirety.
Tagged with: democracyegyptelectionsrevolutionSCAFtahrir
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News producer. Blogger on politics and culture of the Middle East, specializing in issues of public diplomacy.
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